Last Sunday, pastor Andy Braunston and I in effect did a swap. Andy spoke at Bramhall in the morning and Karen and I went to Wilbrham St Ninians' in the afternoon to the Manchester Metropolitan church where Andy has been pastor for around 20 years.
Manchester Metropolitan Church (according to the website) is the only LGTB church in the area (stands for Lesbian Gay Trans and Bi sexual).
I just wanted to say what an incredibly inclusive and caring community has been built there. What is it like to be in place where everyone has at some point been ostracised? Well it could have been very defensive, talking about rights and so forth, but the reverse was true. A very welcoming and accepting community. It was also - and this threw me a little, multi linguistic. Andy has a group of French speaking asylum seekers in his congregation so when the reading was in English, and on the screen in French, I was a little unprepared!
But in many ways it was like what church used to be like - one minister to one church, a medium sized congregation where everyone knew each other and seemed really concerned for the support each could give and receive. That, I would suggest is pretty much the ideal self supporting faith community. Respecting each other's space and individuality but offering support if it was needed.
The congregation was also a good deal younger than most!
So I just wanted to give you a thumbs up Andy